Released: June 2015
This summer Irish folk rockers The Riptide Movement will grace these shores with their debut UK release Getting Through. It’s about time, with this four-piece having found plenty of fame and critical acclaim in their home country. Very much the sum of their influences, this group recalls folk and indie tropes that have made millions for other bands, failing to truly put an original stamp on things, but nonetheless presenting us with a neat collection of polished pop rock anthems.
It’s basically written into the constitution of the Republic of Ireland that its bands must write infectious, heart-wrenching, fist-pumping rock ballads, the kind of anthems that those from all walks of life can connect with, and The Riptide Movement seem happy to oblige to the unspoken demand that one makes when the words ‘Irish folk rock’ are uttered. With echoes of everything from The Pogues to U2 to The Script, popular Irish acts of past decades can all be found on Getting Through, not least on the emphatic You and I.
What this four-piece is trying to achieve is essentially what most mainstream British rock bands have done for the last two decades or so. Their debut LP is mainly comprised of heartfelt harmonic choruses and stomping guitar stabs, as the odd brass injection and acoustic element add a more organic flavour to otherwise arena-friendly music. Almost every track begins with a tender, emotive tone before attempting to explode into something different, with varied results. Whilst Animal serves as an enticing opening, sounding like Mumford and Sons with a bit more testosterone, other tracks such as All Works Out and Getting Through give hints of such majesty but fail to deliver.
For the most part this is enjoyable indie pop fare. It’s perfectly inoffensive and some of the melodic elements of tracks such as Friday to Sunday and How Can I Let You Go? provide undeniably infectious nuggets of contemporary guitar rock, but at no point does Getting Through suggest that it has something interesting to say, something that will really catch the attention of its listeners. Sycamore Tree and Across the Water are prime examples of tracks that inspire such apathy – pleasing to the ear for the few minutes in which they play but easily forgettable afterwards. It isn’t bad music at all, in fact the first half of the album is highly likable, it’s just never outstanding.
Considering it’s the first thing most of us in the UK will have heard from The Riptide Movement, Getting Through is a solid effort from a band one suspects has much more to offer. This is the sound of a band with nice ideas, but perhaps strangled a little by their influences. Melodically diverse and rhythmically rousing, however, there should be some moments on this album that will capture the imaginations of rock pop aficionados.